20 Nu-Gen feminists you need to know about if you want to feel f****** empowered this year

The nu wave.

04 Apr 2019

Feminism, much like women and the needs of women, is constantly changing. We are growing towards new breeds - inclusive, intersectional - and new tools; from books to brands, apps to activist collectives.

There are social media warriors, writers, actors and boots-on-ground activists, comedians, artists and politicians. There are those that use their platforms as tools for change and others who dedicate their careers to inspiring and enabling other women.

This list covers just 20 of the many, many feminists inspiring us right now, with their causes, their successes and their work. Their jobs and experiences are varied but their passion for the feminist fight is the same.

1. Kuchenga Shenje

She describes herself as an agitator, and she certainly is that. A writer and activist, she is a brilliant, and inspiring voice in the UK trans community worth following for her humour, warmth and insight into the realities of trans life. She also lobbies for Black Lives Matter and organises a letter-writing project called Bent Bars, which supports LGBTQ prisoners in Britain.

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#blackhair #transisbeautiful #girlslikeus #juicy #transgender

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2. Neelam Keshwala

A nu-gen feminist if ever there was one, Neelam is a bright new face on the activism scene. Formerly a communications strategist for feminist activist group Girls Not Brides, an international organisation that works to end child marriage across the world, she now works for a start-up called Chorus, which supports grassroots activism. In her own personal activism, Neelam has also founded DON’T SLEEP ON US – a networking collective platform primarily designed to empower BME women who create change in their communities. Definitely one to watch.

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Radha and her friends wait to sit a national exam outside the testing centre in Rajasthan, India. Radha was married when she was 16 along with her older sister, but has not yet gone to live with her husband as she is completing her education. | 📷: @allisonsarahjoyce

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3. Gina Martin

The #metoo movement reminded us of the extent of sexual harassment that we face every day. Someone prepared to take action against that is feminist and writer Gina Martin. When a man tried to take a photo up her dress at a festival, she didn’t just brush it off- she took legal action. Since then she has been on a longstanding campaign to make upskirting illegal – and has. She is the author of a new book on activism, Be The Change, out in June. **Adds to Basket**

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Money is hard to talk about for a lot of us. It's definitely a gendered thing, too. Women and marginalised genders can find it harder to be open about money because we don't fit the archetype image our society has of someone valid in the world of money. Try and tell me you don't immediately imagine a white man in a suit when the words 'banker', 'investor' or 'stock exchange' come up.🕴️💼👔 In the last few weeks I've found it so much harder to talk about money than I have before. 🥴 Being freelance means having to put value on myself and my work and ask for it and I've found that uncomfortable. The truth is, the work I love doing the most is the one that doesn't pay: activism. So, I've been thinking hard about choosing work I love that allows me to make money, because only if I make some money can I do the pro-bono work (like campaigning) that feeds me. I shouldn't feel embarrassed about making money. None of us should. I'm lucky enough to love love love my job – the paid, the unpaid and everything in-between — but we have this idea that that's the only valid way to exist. Actually, heaps of us need to work in a job that's fine – but not soul-igniting — so that we can pay our rent and do something we love on the side too, I know I did that. And that is commendable. Talking about money is key, transparency is key, and stopping under-valuing yourself when it comes to figures is key. I'm gonna really try to do all three. 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻

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4. Alya Mooro

A big name to watch; Alya Mooro is one of the first writers to publish under Amazon’s own publishing imprint Little A. Her first book ‘The Greater Freedom’ is part memoir and part social commentary and is a stirring and relevant feminist work that focuses on rewriting negative stereotypes of Middle Eastern women. She’ll be a household name by the time the book comes out this September.

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Big believer that you can't write unless you read! Never have I read more than while writing my debut book #TheGreaterFreedom: Life as a Middle Eastern Woman Outside the Stereotypes. New blog post (link in bio) talking about some of the books I read as research / inspo 👀👀

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5. Elyse Fox

Placing mental health at the forefront of feminist issues, Elyse founded @sadgirlsclub to destigmatise depression and mental health issues for women of colour. The club organsises IRL events across the US like a Sad Girls Running Club and Sad Girls film Club, and has just founded @producedbygirls which supports and champions female creatives.

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Fierce is not being afraid to be the first one to do something for the first time. I remember working overnight shifts at Abercrombie admiring the beautiful faces featured on the walls. I will admit, I was a bit insecure about my appearance for the campaign shoot being 5 months pregnant with natural hair but I was told to ‘Come as you are’ and was welcomed with warm hugs. I’m excited to be collaborating with @abercrombie as part of the relaunch of Fierce fragrance. #FACEYOURFIERCE #abercrombiepartner

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6. Grace Campbell

Part of the feminist power of three behind Pink Protest, alongside pals Scarlett Curtis and Alice Skinner, Grace is a bold, political feminist voice for our times. She’s a comedian, as well as an activist: go to one of her shows, leave happy, tickled and fired up.

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Free on the 18th of March? You should come to the next work in progress of my show Why I’m Never Going Into Politics. It’s at the Top Secret Comedy Club in Covent Garden. I am lucky enough to be splitting the bill with my queen and fellow Riot Girl @sophiedukebox. Tickets are free which is a total bargain coz you will leave looking as elated as I do here. Ticket link in bio. This picture was taken by the FABULOUS @ameliaallenphotography & styled by my sis @scarcurtis

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7. Amika George

She brought period poverty to our attention, founding the amazing #FreePeriods movement that led to real social change and with the UK government pledging to fund free menstrual products in all secondary schools and colleges in England. Her feminism is young, engaged and socially active. She is a passionate new light on the activist scene and she’s only just getting started.

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‘When she sees, she succeeds.’ I am incredibly excited to be part of @adidaslondon campaign on female visibility this #womenshistorymonth!!! In a time when women are challenging stereotypes, smashing taboos and fighting relentlessly for equality, we need to show young girls how powerful women are. @adidaslondon are championing women who are working to address representation & equality in creative & sports industries across London & I’m SO glad to be a part of it! You can see more on my stories! 👀 🏆 #SheBreaksBarriers #createdwithadidas Thanks to the all female team that worked on putting this together! @thedigifairy @thenetworkfairy @lilyrosethomas @dianaolifirovadop @gina_blondell @natalieroar @lgstudio_

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8. Jess Phillips

Could we be looking at our next prime minister? The enormously popular MP is one of our favourite politicians. As a student she marched against the Iraq war and before becoming an MP she worked for Women’s Aid. She frequently calls out sexism at every level. Funny, outspoken and yes, feminist. Yes please.

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So this is happening tomorrow. @thetimesmagazine I'm a bit bowled over to be honest, my mate Ruth said she thought it was Joan Collins, my husband said I appear to be launching a pop career and my mate Helen just said, "who is that?"

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9. LevelUp

This amazing feminist collective champions true intersectional feminism, as well as taking on everyone from ITV to the tech giant Facebook for sexist ads and refusing to combat sexual harassment. They only got started last year, but they already have some serious wins under their belt, like successfully banning cosmetic surgery ads from Love Island.

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The #LetUsEat petition against the “Women Who Eat On Tubes” group has hit 5k!!💜💥 Once it hits 10k, we’ll be asking Facebook for a meeting 😈⚡️⚡️⚡️ THANK you to everyone who has signed, shared and donated! It’s very clear that women have had ENOUGH!!⚡️🔥⚡️mega thanks to @jameelajamilofficial & @i_weigh for supporting us too! If you haven’t yet, click the #linkinbio!! #iweigh

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10. Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE

Super smart, super inspirational: Anne Marie has made a career of getting young girls into STEM careers - founding the STEMETTES - an amazing institution dedicated to female science, tech and maths education. She’s closing that gender pay gap, one step at a time. Oh and, let year, she received an MBA and Woman of the Year Award for her inspiring work. No biggie.

This morning's @CommonsBEIS session on automation speaks to Head Stemette Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon @aimafidon, Professor Sir Christopher Pissarides and Dr Daniel Susskind broadcast live on Parliament TV.

Watch from 10:49 : https://t.co/U40GcvWUaR#WomenInSTEM pic..com/rjYVoDoAsr

— Stemettes ® 💙 ★ # + (@Stemettes) April 3, 2019

11. Rebecca Bunce

Name-checked by Barack Obama? Yup, casual. Rebecca received a phone call from the White House - all as part of her amazing work as the founder of IC-Change, which aims to get significant legislation in the UK which would protect women from violence. Go girl.

We spent the weekend making plaques with our lovely volunteers! We can’t wait to show them off at @RtnLondon! #IstanbulConvention #ICChange pic..com/ppjOWdZUPS

— IC Change (@ICChangeUK) October 16, 2018

12. Plunge Theatre

Blurring the line between art and activism, these girls are a powerhouse feminist collective. Based in south-London, this theatre trio make feminist productions tackling issues from body positivity and hair removal to equal pay and sexual harassment – placing activism front and centre in their art, even taking performances to schools across the country to talk about body positivity. The witty trio have made music videos on subjects as divergent as bikini waxes, Piers Morgan and men in ugly footwear, and are currently writing a sitcom. You heard it here first.

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Aaaaaaand it's OFFIC🎉 *to Shania Twain beat DA DA DA DA DA DA DA* LET'S GO GURLS (to Ed Fringe.... with our new show 'Clingfilm') ALSO huge shoutout to @tristan_chenais_dop @katie.gabe & @emlondon_ shootin, illustratin & lendin for this shoot ❤ #CLINGFILMTHESHOW . . . . . . . . . . #plungetheatre #plungelife #edinburgh #edfringe #pleasancecourtyard #letsgogurls #femalepower #shaniatwain #photoshoot #womenincomedy #womeninfilm #womenintheatre #getitgirl #yasss #feminism #photooftheday #herewecome #watchout #femaleempowerment #staytuned #comedy #cabaret

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13. Otegha Uwagba

Otegha has quite literally written the book on inspiring women, particularly women of colour. One of Forbes 30 Under 30, Otegha is a feminist writer and founder of Women Who, an amazing collective for working women. She has also written the bestselling book the Little Black Book - a modern toolkit for working women that deals with everything from asking for a raise to yes, getting that raise.

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Something for everyone 🤪 yesterday's face beat by @rebekahlidstone

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14. Louise Troen

The VP of marketing at Bumble is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to feminism. It helps that she works at a company that puts dismantling the patriarchy fairly high on their to-do list. Innovative and imaginative, she’s an example of what happens when business gets behind activism.

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all in a weeks work 💛

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15. Marsai Martin

You may know her as Diane Johnson from Blackish (yes the ‘evil twin’) but she is, in fact, a fourteen year old film producer (yes, you read that right) with her own production company, Genius. She has just made her first film; a feminist re-imagining of ‘Big’ called, well, ‘Little’ in which she also stars. She is not only the youngest person in Hollywood to produce a film, she is smart and outspoken on issues from feminism to racism.

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16. Zing Tsjeng

This journalist and feminist writer is editor of Broadly, an editorial arm of Vice which focuses on the narratives of often marginalised voices. She had continued this purpose in a series of books she released last year called Forgotten Women. In them, she celebrated the overlooked stories of some of history’s most fascinating and inspiring female artists, scientists, writers and leaders. Feminist, and then some.

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I visited a temple after successfully haggling for this camo vest at a secondhand shop in Kowloon.... in that moment I became truly Asian

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17. Amani Al-Khatahtbeh

American writer and tech entrepreneur Amani founded Muslim Girl, an online magazine for Muslim women, back in 2009 when she was just 17. She is a powerful and inspirational activist and inspirational advocate for representation and diversity. She has partnered with Teen Vogue for stories focusing on the experiences of Muslin women and wrote Muslim Girl: Coming of Age in 2016.

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#muslimwomensday got me feeling like khaleesi 🖤 @voguearabia april '19 print issue photographer @nikolausjung designer @nathaliagaviria fashion director @deannavonbonin stylist @engiestyle makeup @hadiakabir interview @alexandriagouveia

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18. Shon Faye

Funny, feminist and a powerful trans activist; Shon is a master of a social media quip (her post on Beyoncé and Ed Sheeran’s vastly different stage outfits was a think piece in itself) just as much as she delivers a rousing polemic on trans life in the UK. Her first book; The Transgender Issue, will be published in 2021.

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On stage doing comedy last night at the @rvtofficial with the inimitable David Hoyle. Thank you if you came! 📷: Holly Revell

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19. Sophie Wilkinson

Writer and journalist Sophie is a hilarious and astute activist for feminism and LGBTQ rights. She uses both her journalism and her feed to be brilliantly outspoken and insightful about issues and causes that need awareness; from lesbian representation in films to LGBTQ education in schools.

Re-upping this - last week I emailed @SharonHodgsonMP, aware that she, like all MPs, was really busy with Brexit. I asked if she had time to talk about socioeconomic factors affecting children's health outcomes and of course she did. She's great https://t.co/gdRXqVKSAK

— Sophie WilkINson (@sophwilkinson) April 2, 2019

20. Dar’shun Kendrick

You may not have heard of this American politician, but her most recent proposition is nothing short of genius. The Georgia Democrat has put forward a bill that would ban vasectomies and make it an “aggravated assault” to have sex without a condom, as a response to the aggressive and restrictive new abortion bill put forward by political conservatives. Her aim? “To bring awareness to the fact that, if you’re going to legislate our bodies, then we have every right to propose legislation to regulate yours.” Amen to that.

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Legislative duties done. Sorority meeting over. Sun out. I look cute today too. I'm about to take my own damn self out on a lunch date! Lamb chops here I come! #LovingMyself

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